MasterChef semi-finalist cooks up a new role at Blackfriars

A former MasterChef semi-finalist has taken up the role of Cookery School head chef at Blackfriars in Newcastle.

Anthony O’Shaughnessy has returned to his hometown to help people improve their cooking skills with weekday and weekend classes, private parties and corporate events at the Cookery School, which is located above Blackfriars Restaurant.

Prior to joining Blackfriars, Anthony worked for restaurants across the UK and was a tutor for Leeds Cookery School, where he delivered courses within Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food. He took part in MasterChef in 2018 and surprised the judges with his take on the chicken parmo. He is now a regular guest judge on the programme.

He’ll be teaching cooking styles from across the world at Blackfriars – including Vietnamese cooking, chocolate making, children’s classes and Indian Street Food – for beginners through to more experienced chefs.

Anthony, who lives in Gateshead, will be working alongside the award-winning chefs at Blackfriars. He said: “I’m delighted to be returning to my hometown and driving forward the largest purpose-built cookery school in our region. I’ve spent the last five years training in Yorkshire and I’m incredibly proud to bring home a diverse skillset. The Cookery School is more popular than ever, which tells me there is a great demand for cookery knowledge and for an alternative night out. We have a catalogue of more than 75 classes which offer a deep dive into specific cuisines and techniques, and I cannot wait to help people master them.”
Andy Hook, managing director of Blackfriars, said: “We’re thrilled to have Anthony on board as he has the perfect skillset and acumen to run our vast range of classes. We opened the school 10 years ago, initially just offering bread making and children’s classes, but soon outgrew our original space so moved the operation to its current home above the restaurant. Since then, demand for classes has continued to grow from budding cooks around the country with many people buying them as gifts for friends and family. We look forward to Anthony injecting his unique style and personality to our classes and to him helping us to develop the Cookery School in the future.”

Although cooking is Anthony’s passion, he had never intended to become a chef. He graduated from Bangor University in 2013 with a degree in psychology with neuropsychology, and had planned to go to medical school.

He added: “After my previous career in the NHS, I found cookery to be the perfect balance of being creative and helping others. Over the last five years working as a cookery tutor, I must have taught over 3,000 people from various walks of life how to cook. Cooking gives people an enormous sense of independence and empowerment, and I enjoy helping people find a place for that in their lives. Everybody deserves that.

“The classes at Blackfriars offer something for every type of cook. Our weeknight classes offer faster-paced, exciting recipes that are perfect for a weeknight, while our weekend classes offer a slightly deeper insight into a particular subject. I strongly believe that if there’s a specific area of cookery you love, there is a way you can fit it into your lifestyle – I’ve seen it – and I would be thrilled to show people how to do it”.

To see upcoming cookery classes, visit

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